By After School Communications Manager Michael Luchies
Social media is a part of our lives that isn’t going away anytime soon. A lot has changed since After School first entered the market in late 2014.
Around 68% of adults in the U.S. still have Facebook accounts, but trends are leading more people away from Facebook and shifting how social media companies provide services to their users.
Based on what we’ve seen at After School, here are the trends we expect to further develop in 2019:
Focus on Privacy
The industry is shifting in response to highly publicized hacks and controversial policies. Privacy and security are finally focuses for social media companies because their users are demanding it.
After School allows anonymity, meaning users can keep their names private. This hasn’t stopped members of our app and media outlets from contacting us regularly about privacy and security. This trend will continue throughout 2019 as social media users continue to become more savvy and selective about what they use and why, and what information they share with the companies that provide them with products and services.
Continued Rise of Anonymity
There was a time when we all wanted to be connected with the entire world through online tools. This is now possible, and we’re starting to see a trend towards developing smaller, more private communities. We’re also seeing a higher demand for anonymity. What someone would share on their Facebook page where anyone from their co-workers to grandmother can see is much different than what they would share privately with a couple of friends. Anonymity is a key to helping people feel comfortable and have protection from being targeted because of expressing themselves with others.
GIFs to Overtake Emojis
Emojis, first appearing in 1997, slowly became an important aspect of the way we communicate digitally with others. Instead of solely using text and voice, emojis allows us to describe how we are feeling and convey an emotion in a single or series of images (emojis). Due to advances in technology and a shift in the way we communicate, GIFs have begun to replace emojis. We believe that in 2019, GIFs will finally replace emojis as the preferred way for people to share emotions, ideas and jokes without text or voice.
Shift to User-Focused Apps and Features
Using a chat service or keyboard on your phone, you are currently at the mercy of what is available. These tools are created to benefit the company that makes them more often than they are created to benefit the user. That trend is changing. The team behind After School has created a new keyboard tool (FaceChat) that gives users a universal GIF and emoji keyboard, advanced autocorrect, and more. We expect to see competitors shift to give users products that are focused on their wants and needs, not their own.
Communities have a significant impact on the people who live and communicate within them both online and offline. Digital citizenship is evolving and community wellness is emerging into an important initiative championed by companies like Two Hat Security and nonprofit organizations including ConnectSafely.
Two Hat Security believes “in a world free of online bullying, harassment, and child exploitation.” They help communities, from social networks to gaming groups, by blocking and removing harmful content like threats, profanity, and phishing attempts.
What trends do you think will begin or continue to grow in the world of social media in 2019? Please share with us at @SafetyonSocial on Twitter.